Bubbling in the waiting room

4 03 2014

Several ways to look at the current down-time – it might be a welcome chance to catch one’s breath, or it might be limbo while waiting for the next shoot of new growth to sprout…

But some things continue apace, like Have You Heard? on WSLR, for example. Mind boggling to apprehend we’re on Week 46 of weekly broadcasts. It’ll be a year before you know it. Our goals include moving up to a 10 minute show from our current 5 minute format.

This week we go over a slew of musical events happening around Sarasota and in her libraries. But I also mention a Fogartyville event to which I’m looking forward:

“True Heroes of Florida, with T.D. Allman”

Finding Florida cover art








After a brief span hearing Mr. Allman on WMNF, Community Radio up in Tampa, FL, I’m looking forward to a fuller interaction with this controversial historian in our community here. Sunday, March 9, 5 PM at 525 Kumquaat Ct., Sarasota, FL  34236. Aloha!







Then, now and looking forward

3 09 2013

On Tuesday, September 10, we’re holding a Civil Rights commemoration at North Sarasota Library starting at 6 PM (with singing of Freedom Songs starting at 5:40 PM while people are arriving).

The impetus to gather people was mainly the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, in which Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carol Robertson lost their lives. But with the current attacks on voting rights since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (like the Voter Purges here in Florida), Civil Rights are as immediate and pressing now as they have ever been.

Here’s the flyer –
Sept 10 event poster corrected draft

We’re fortunate that County Commissioner Carolyn Mason will join us to read some of her original poetry, and we have young people from the neighborhood involved, and we’re fortunate that all the available seats have already been reserved (and we’ll be maintaining a waiting list, to fill in spaces for those who can’t make it that night). If you can’t be there, WSLR (96.5 FM Community Radio in Sarasota) is slated to record audio of the event and broadcast it on the actual September 15th Anniversary of the tragedy.

We’re working to join the threads, the generations, and the purpose all together.

Telling the library story – afterthoughts from Denver

20 06 2013

It was a great honor to be a part of the team representing Sarasota County at the All-America City competition in Denver this past weekend.

The 3 stories we highlighted in our application included: the new Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery; the Institute for the Ages (Sarasota County has the highest proportion of people over 85 years old of any large county in the United States; and the resurgence of the library where I work – the North Sarasota Library.

We had a highly committed, enthusiastic team of people representing a cross section of the County’s population. We were extremely well-prepared. And we were NOT 1 of the 10 All-America cities this year.

I’m betting every member of our team will continue to replay choices we might’ve made and things we wish we’d done better. For example, if we’d known the Talent portion of the Cultural Fair would take place in a street fair atmosphere with a thousand people loudly milling about we’d have chosen different offerings.

Sarasota County's talent performers at the AAC Cultural & Entertainment Fair

Sarasota County’s talent performers at the AAC Cultural & Entertainment Fair

But for library advocates (if you’re not interested, you can tune out here… :-)),
there are important lessons regarding “telling the library story.” In a break-out session on Community and Early Childhood Education, if our delegation hadn’t been in attendance, it’s possible no one would’ve mentioned libraries’ active involvement in this area during the whole session! It turned out to be important for us to be there and tell the library story; to remind people the library is a resource and is working on this issue.

At the same time, it was a pleasure to have an opportunity to tell our library’s story in a situation where we weren’t angling for funding, or a grant, or a donation, or political support. We were there because we love our library and that authenticity contributed to the honor of participating. Sure, I could’ve suggested different ways to tell it, along with different data, that might’ve helped push us over the top for the award jurors. But that wasn’t up to me, and nobody asked… 🙂

Overall, the message for me (and from me) is related to the question, “Where & When is it appropriate to tell your library’s story?” And I think the answer is: “Everywhere – all the time.” At least that’s what the lesson of Denver feels like to me.

Tolkien’s books were burned in the USA? Really?

3 10 2012

It’s that time of year again – national Freedom to Read Week (or, as it’s more commonly known, “Banned Book Week”).

I’ve created a display for North Sarasota Library and I’m pleased that it’s evoked curiosity and some discussion from young people for whom the term “reluctant reader” is an exponential understatement. Here’s a photo of it:


“Naughty” books doing time during Banned Book Week at North Sarasota Library

The vast majority of the items were found from an ALA posting regarding challenged books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 novels of the 20th Century. I didn’t plan for the chains to have any particular cultural significance in the community this library serves, but it’s possible that could occur.

Beyond the “prison cell” for these books in the foreground, you may be able to make out the large poster with the most prominent line proclaiming “Challenged Classics.” There’s also a nook box imprisoned in honor of the de facto censorship and contribution to the digital divide imposed by publishers refusal to provide libraries with ebooks for their patrons (or to provide enough copies to be
of real service to them).

Also in this photo on the table is a 3-ring binder chained to the display with the same chain that encircles the “cell.” In the binder, inquisitive minds may discover information about where and when each title was challenged, burned, removed, or kept. In some cases, the rationale for the challenge is also laid out.

I was surprised this year to discover that Tolkien’s works were publicly burned in Alamogordo, NM, in 2001 as satanic. Really? In the 21st Century here in America intelligent people would fail to celebrate Tolkien’s masterful achievement and, instead, find it threatening enough to burn it?

This is just one more example of why we need to continue to celebrate and vigorously exercise our freedom to read!

Working the “12 things happy people do differently”

20 01 2012

Perhaps we can benefit from reminders of some good advice?

On a LinkedIn post, I clicked to read “The 12 things happy people do differently.” They were cited on somebody’s blog: Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Many are counterintuitive. Some are a bit reminiscent of 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonmymous. But, you know what? I was pretty happy to already be practicing most of them. I found additional comfort in making greater effort with the rest. So thank you, Mr. Blogster, for passing that along.

Starting the year off on a positive note

And,, pictured above, are some of the results. My partner Carolyn captured this moment following an early January holiday gathering with my children Nolan and Gwynneth. They enjoyed watching a pod of small porpoises playing under the bow of my sailboat Bellatrix (still for sale – in case you know anyone) and I savored a very rare day with both of them.

It may, or may not, be related to enjoying 2 actual job interviews in the past 2 weeks. In the first one, I lost out to somebody with 18 years of job experience beyond my own. But I have a decent shot at the one I enjoyed earlier today. An offer and possible acceptance of a full-time position will be posted here, should it occur.

Until then, I’ll just keep working those 12 things and apprehending any positive stimuli I can sense.

Best wishes to all for a better year in 2012 than 2011, whatever that may mean to you.

Sunday night at Selby Gardens

16 12 2011

My friend Dr. Lonetta M. Gaines (a storyteller and  colleague) will be telling Kwanza stories Sunday evening as part of the Lights in Bloom celebration at Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota.

I love hearing and seeing Lonetta tell stories and this event is a benefit for the Gardens. The event begins at 6 PM.

More information can be had by following this link: http://www.selby.org/events/lights-bloom-2011

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

19 09 2011

Even Louis Zamperini claimed, if given the choice, he would’ve chosen death over reliving his experiences: as a downed airman adrift in a life raft; as a POW in Japan during WWII; and as a raging alcoholic after the war. So, while we can’t be expected to want to live that life either, who wouldn’t want the love that followed Louis wherever he went, his resilience, and his modest ability to fully “follow his bliss.” This book should be a must read in high school American History classes.

My one caution would be about the graphic description of some of the events in the prisoner of war camps. I believe it’s well done, but that some young readers might find it disturbing if they’re not prepared for it. Nevertheless, I feel it’s a deeply important part of the story, too.

Ms. Hillenbrand has achieved another remarkable feat to follow that of SEABISCUIT. She reports this book and I feel what she chooses to leave out is as important as what she chose to include. To me, she it truly one of America’s great writers and citizens. She is a national treasure.

5 of 5 stars

bookshelves: biography, far-away-places, nonfiction, fables

Recommended to Arlen by: Books on the Nightstand
Recommended for: Everyone from mature young adults upward.

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